Holt adoption baby

sell by 12/19/66

saving children, or saving ourselves?

with 19 comments

It’s not easy being an international adoption supporter these days:  with a building media catalog of botched cases,  questionable practices world-wide, and celebrity entitlement excesses, adoption has  fallen under increasing scrutiny and attack, the most vociferous criticism coming from adult adoptees themselves.  I can’t attribute the quote, but someone noteworthy said recently that adoption was “under siege.”

That’s how this debate is being characterized of late:  as a war.  The well-funded and embattled adoption industry is digging in its heels and employing everything in their arsenal to stop this changing tide of public opinion, and at the front lines of their arsenal are dogmatic adult adoptees who refuse to look thoughtfully and thoroughly at the criticisms of what brought them to where they are.  Many of their arguments are eroding as the general public is more willing to question adoption practices in the wake of the often substantive, well-reasoned arguments made by adult adoptees against international adoption, the fifth estate, and increasingly mainstream media.

The adoption industry clings to their dogma — that they are “saving” children — tighter than ever, as if their lives depended on it.  This attitude is especially interesting in Korea, in the absence of war, in how they explain and justify their continued presence here.  That doesn’t make sense at all to me, and so I’d like to address the two kinds of “saving” they think gives them license to operate below:

I.  Not ripped, but thrown away.

In the continuing insistence that adoption is saving children from a rigid Confucian society or saving unwed mothers from the ostracizing of a severe Confucian society, some adoption industry supporters have told me (in response to my post, unfortunately I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried) that Korea “doesn’t give a shit” and will always throw away its kids, so adoption is necessary.  The presence of adoption agencies has no causal effects.

A little history lesson:

Korea used to give a shit.

Scholars have told me that prior to the existence of orphanages — which didn’t exist prior to the Korean War  — accidental children and unwanted children were kept within the extended family and true orphans were taken in by monasteries as monks in training.  So, they didn’t throw away their children and prior to adoption most children were taken care of internally by society.

Orphanages were a necessity in the aftermath of the war because the country was devastated and family networks were broken up and thousands of children were legitimately saved.  But the idea of sending children to other countries was an intervention which would thenceforth alleviate Korea of its social responsibilities towards its most helpless citizens and also later become a convenient avenue for erasing family shame WHICH DIDN’T EXIST BEFORE. In fact, INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION DIDN’T EXIST prior to its INTRODUCTION in Korea, and U.S. social workers at the time were very very concerned about the effects of uprooting children from their native culture to live as minorities in a country still uncomfortable with race issues.

Towards the end of the first wave of adoptions, Koreans were abandoning their children en masse.  The reason for this is because of the presence of adoption agencies who offered not only one less mouth to feed, but the promise of a better life elsewhere for their children..  The adoption agencies’ method of helping Korea was not to provide aid to families, but to take children to families abroad who had more means and proper Christian ideals. The concept of international, and of other non-Asian countries, was unfathomable by most, and few had any idea their children were never-to-be-seen-again.  Orphanages were thought of as temporary assistance and it came as a shock to most to discover what the permanence of relinquishment really meant.

These adoption supporters have told me, “the truth is you were thrown away.”  I’m not going to argue against the reality that I was abandoned, but I will argue against the idea that my abandonment was so callous.  Yes, I was thrown away.  But was it by my parents?  I think I was thrown away by my country, through the design of others’ deceit.  I was severed from this country by foreign forces intervening in the delicate structure of a country at its most vulnerable.  In the minds of Korean parents at that time, their children were not being thrown away, but handed up.  Up to what?  No parents (my parents) would leave a child alone on the street, in the middle of the harsh Korean winter, if they hadn’t known HOLT was there collecting children to send to magic lands where the streets were lined with gold.  These myths distributed by the adoption agencies exploited the hopes and dreams poor struggling people had for their family members, and are the real reason families abandoned their children.  It was/IS STILL the presence of the adoption agencies which is the CATALYST for abandonment.  Their presence encouraged families to split apart and the splinters were thrown out of reach.  I call that being ripped from Korea; not thrown away.

The later waves of Korean adoptees (the vast majority of them) became orphaned not because of war or post-war economics, but because there was now an established way to erase the evidence of indiscretions and their resulting family shame.

For over 50 years this adoption option has become so well established that instead of a loving (and misguided due to misrepresentation) act of desperation, it has morphed into the defacto choice for preserving family honor, when prior to adoption families just had to suck it up and live with their transgressions.  But it didn’t just morph into that on its own.  It was suggested by the adoption agencies to fill the orphanages that weren’t needed any longer.  Capitalizing on Confucian family honor was an excuse to continue practicing adoption.  The presence of the adoption agencies is now used as a means of social engineering through surgery.  And, personally, I have a hard time discerning what’s moral, ethical, or charitable in that process.  It’s time Korea understands that the wart on their face is not the child or its mother, but the length to which they will go to preserve their image and social standing.  But Korea will never have to take responsibility for their transgressions, as they did in the past, as long as the convenience of adoption is an option, and adoption agencies can never have clean hands as long as they persist in “helping” Korea by providing Korea with a trash can. Remove the means for abandonment, and what happens?  People have to begin taking responsibility for their actions.  Just like they did before adoption was here.  Just like the brave unwed moms do against all odds.

I.I.  HOLT should be canonized because they care for the handicapped and special needs children.

Taking care of handicapped and special needs children IS a great thing to do.  But again, why are those children in an orphanage and not at home with their parents?  WHY ARE THOSE CHILDREN IN AN ORPHANAGE AT ALL?

Last June I watched on the news how a jet filled with 30 Korean doctors went to Vietnam to perform cosmetic surgery on children with cleft lips so they could lead happy, productive lives. SK telecom of S. Korea has spent over $2 million U.S. on over 3,000 such operations. The irony of this brought tears to my eyes, and then outrage: Because teams of cosmetic surgeons can command great PR for Korea by saving children from disfigurement in poor countries, but they don’t do it here in their own country.  Because Korea has the money to help its own children. Because having a cleft lip is enough reason to become orphaned  here in Korea.  Because orphanages allow Korea a nice tidy way to not deal with their own problems.  Because these children are not problems, but people.

Whether Korean children born out of wedlock have ten fingers and toes, or whether Korean children have a cleft lip, or a severe medical condition, or whether Korean children are born underweight, why are any of them  (all of the above without differentiation) in an orphanage?


1) they were rejected because it ruined the family’s image or

2) there weren’t enough means to take care of the children.

In both cases, they are in orphanages:

A) because the orphanages exist, relieving the family from being responsible and

B) because social services do not provide for society

And B) never has to improve as long as there is A) because A) relieves B) of its responsibilities.

Yes, it is saintly to take care of handicapped and special needs children, but not in orphanages:  they should be cared for in their own homes and communities by their own country.  And Korea has plenty of money to do so.  But by setting up orphanages we tell Korea it’s okay to throw away the children you don’t want, to abandon the citizens who can’t defend themselves.  And to congratulate oneself or use such “charity” as justification for a continuing presence and complication of domestic affairs of a country is pretty repugnant.  Is this how we want to contribute to Korean society?  By enabling those that won’t be or can’t be responsible?   And the reason there’s little to admire about orphanages for handicapped and special needs children is because there shouldn’t be orphan ghettos created for undesirables in the first placeProviding a mechanism to abandon children — for any reason — is tantamount to condoning abandonment. And it’s not only limited to implicitly condoning abandoning children:  it’s actively promoted as the preferred and default solution.  Adoption agencies perpetuate the problems here.

And for the adult adoptees myopic enough to support the adoption industry, I’d like to add the following criticisms:

It’s just IDIOTIC for the small percentage of Korean adoptees who were saved from the results of war to hold up war practices and results as the model for peace time. And anyone who uses war practices in times of peace, for that matter.  Eliminating adoption, it would seem, negates their reason for being:  for going through all the struggles they’ve gone through.  But that’s a false dichotomy.  Eliminating adoption would instead remove outside forces and allow this country to find its own balance and finally heal itself.  HOLT, the other international adoption agencies, and adoptees like KWB, Steve Kalb, Susan Cox and Kim Brown, should find new reasons to purpose themselves — deeper, more effective ways to truly help society sustainably — instead of looking to erect monuments to glories past where they can be part of something heroic and validate themselves.  Because they’ve invested so much of themselves, what would their lives mean if it turned out they were misguided?   Can’t.  Let.  That.  Happen.  At.  All.  Costs.  I’ve no doubt about their commitment:  but they want to be a part of something that does good so bad, they don’t realize they are being used to promote and protect something that contributes to the harm of an entire society.  Plus, change takes work.  Deep work.  A lot more work than business as usual.  And who wants to work themselves out of a job?  Certainly not the adoption industry.

It’s also IDIOTIC to say on one hand that you support unwed mothers, while at the same time supporting the forces that exploit and oppress them.

Caring about unwed mothers is an issue that was co-opted by the adoption industry at first criticism but it’s a red herring, for in practice adoption industry support of unwed mothers is paltry:  the bulk of their support of mothers is convincing them their lives will be better without their babies.  And yet, the plight of the unwed moms here who choose to keep their children in Korea is too palpable to ignore, even by adoption-industry supporting adoptees.  But to give it sympathy and then ultimately dismiss their struggles as being entirely the fault of Korea is turning a blind eye to the fact that they are pressured into giving away their children TO adoption is to dismiss their reality.   So either really support those struggling moms, or quit using them and giving their struggles lip-service to appear open-minded.

Your solution just isn’t good enough.

Molly Holt has admitted that “mistakes were made.”  What if it was beyond “mistakes?”  What if staying on in a country fifty years after there’s no war is just WRONG?  What if “saving” children from a rigid Confucian society makes the society even more terrifyingly rigid with even  more terrifying consequences?  What if this intervention has totally redefined, and not in a good way, the definition of family in this country? What if these what-if’s are not speculation but a reflection of the results of international adoption?

It’s been over 50 years since adoption became established in Korea and there has been been very little progress in social services but almost 200,000 children sent away.  And this is a process that should continue?  These sad figures would indicate to me that even though adoption is some kind of a solution, there is something pathologically wrong with it and it isn’t fixing anything.  200,000 families fractured.  How can we begin to measure the amount of damage this solution has done to this nation?

Adoption agencies are like the martyr mom who promotes her saintliness to others by complaining how she always has to clean Johnny’s room because he won’t do it himself.  Johnny’s not stupid, however.  He knows he’ll never have to clean his room as long as she’s there to clean up after him.  Who’s really at fault, Johnny or his mom?  Didn’t the mom create the lazy irresponsible boy?  Only in the matter of Korea, there are human lives at stake:  the unwed moms who have empty arms and broken hearts and the children who are sent to other countries who must spend their lives explaining who they are and why.

In the matter of war, there is always a time of reconstruction where assistance is given until a country gains strength to manage their own affairs.  Only in South Korea, the reconstruction period never ended.  Because there remains this vestige of dependency that is adoption.  The exit plan never materialized, the (I would argue pathological) adoption solution was introduced, and it’s continued presence has retarded the personal growth, healing, and independence of the Korean people.

To my mind, the entire notion that Korea doesn’t give a shit and is incorrigible so adoption agencies must operate here in perpetuity is just the most negative, sad, hopeless, dis-empowered, lacking-in-faith, dismal assessment of Korean people I’ve ever witnessed.   Such statements actually resemble the patronizing dismissive sentiments of a colonist’s condemnation of those they exploit, and shouldn’t be tolerated.  I mean, there’s something wrong when the people profiting by the refuse collection are the same people that provide the trash can and are the same people condemning Koreans for using the trash can they told them they needed.    That Korean society is something to be saved from or that Korean society can not change (they were changed into a baby exporting nation, so obviously the capacity for change is there) is highly debatable and not a foregone conclusion.  And canonizing Holt and the other adoption agencies for their work – have they really been a friend to Korea?  Or are they opportunists and exploiters of Korea?  Korean people love their children too, and in the absence of the adoption solution they will rise to the occasion and take care of their own, the way they did before outside intervention.

Adoption is NOT the best solution:  giving a country true autonomy by discontinuing interventions which warp society is.  Helping Korea return to family values and community values of uri nara is.  Developing social services is.  Preserving families is.  Finding balance is.  But you have to work at it.  And you have to RESPECT people, have FAITH in humanity, and treat them with DIGNITY.

The adoption agencies and their supporters exhortations that they are continuing to “save” children and their mothers from society ring hollow.  The only ones they are saving is themselves:  from existential crisis, from their real identity work, from self reproach, from job loss, or from eternal damnation.   The sad thing is:  don’t they realize working themselves out of a job should be the goal?  That the goal should be creating strong societies that value all of its people and don’t need to abandon their children?

What a waste of their lives.  What a waste of resources, human and economic.  What a stupid battle, this adoption war.


Written by girl4708

May 7, 2010 at 6:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

19 Responses

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  1. [These adoption supporters have told me, “the truth is you were thrown away.”]

    That’s what some people have tried to tell me too. They often pull out the old line: “Well, CLEARLY you weren’t wanted *there* so you were adopted.”

    It’s just not true.

    Mei Ling

    May 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm

  2. This is an excellent post… I was especially interested to read about your take on those children with medical conditions, since my child has the worst form of spina bifida and cannot walk, cannot urinate on her own, has some kidney issues, and a (thankfully non-symptomatic at this time) brain disorder that is common in children with spina bifida. She wasn’t left until 3 months of age, and the mass on her back was the size of a small human head at the time. I have always stood by the belief that had the right social supports been in place, or the ability to obtain the medical care she needed, her best option would be to stay with her family, and in her culture. I’m at best Plan B. (At the same time, I recognize how marginalized she would have been as a disabled person in China).

    Having said all that- I can’t help but wonder (in light of the Chinese govt, the social structure, etc) what would have happened to this vibrant, happy, courageous, easy going little girl were it not for the organization that saved her life (initially she was placed on a palliative care floor at the orphanage in her province until an Australian doctor that lives and works in China saw her file and asked for her to be brought to Beijing where she received the medical care she needed & lived until she was adopted at 3 years, 8 months of age). While I wholeheartedly agree with your A+B equation, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the infanticide that does take place, especially in cases like my daughter’s. Left with so few options, without those orphanages, how many of these children would be left to die or killed outright?

    Reform is needed, without a doubt. But not at the expense of lives. What is the answer? Not an easy one. The system is grossly flawed. But we can’t just point our finger at the agencies- like you said, your country abandoned you more than your parents did. I think this was particularly true in the case of my daughter, but sadly, I will NEVER have the opportunity to know.


    May 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm

  3. hmm…the notion that just-one-more-saved won’t make a difference in adoption reform is the reason adoption never gets reformed. and i do not comment on China because i know nothing about China’s history. in Korea, outside intervention created the culture of abandonment, so i can point my finger at the adoption agencies: not only for their intervention but their perpetuation of that intervention.

    adoptive parents often email or comment and ask me, what should i have done, let the child rot? if the true concern is helping, then aid can always be given. but more likely than not, no aid would be given by most of these people if they were denied the opportunity to derive the instant gratification of the child’s immediate dependency. everybody lets the children rot to some degree, and on the other hand the children in orphanages thrive better than is portrayed in western media. whatever the reason, just-one-more becomes just-one-more becomes just-another-one-more becomes just-a-few-more becomes well, a bunch more, becomes never-ending. that one more is the grain of sand on the slippery slope upon which the adoption industry depends to keep them in business. we have to say, “it is enough” and actually commit to stopping it.

    we can also make exceptions for extreme cases as reasonable people, which i personally would love to do so people like yourself can actually help these extreme cases – but there’s the problem of where do we draw the line. for example, in recent times in Korea “adoptable” babies are supposed to go to Korean parents first, unless they are “special needs” children. however, there was a huge spike in babies available for international adoption as soon as the adoption agencies began categorizing low birth-weight babies as “special needs,” even if they had no medical conditions and no developmental delays. history shows us that, wherever there is an opportunity for abuse of the system, adoption agencies have taken it. i don’t claim to have all the answers, but i do believe that all peoples of the world have dignity and our global politics, economics, and inequality are what really causes infanticide.

    and caring for the handicapped or special needs in their homes and communities in my definition includes group homes for those who require special facilities or can not function in society. nobody needs die due to adoption reform. the adoption industry would like the public to believe adoption is the only answer, but that’s totally untrue. these are the responses of people with no respect for the “sending” countries, no imagination, and with no true commitment to helping.

    there is a rational answer to all of this, and that is called an EXIT STRATEGY. not only are social services raised to levels where adoption is not needed, but laws are created and enforced which change society (prison for infanticide enforced) and the public is educated. at the same time, the children remaining in orphanages are found good homes but new children are not found to replace them. It’s called TRANSITION, and it includes medical care for children such as yours, which may have precluded abandonment. society’s behavior changes when laws change.

    we really have to let countries have sovereignty and learn to take care of their own people, and if we want to help, then we should go there and help and not help them by instigating or assisting in the destruction of families. No transition is without its bumps, but in the end the world will be a more humane place when thousands each year are no longer turned into “social orphans.”

    and i will continue to point my finger at the international adoption agencies, because the self-congratulatory, do-good missionary zeal of the colonist mind-set that marginalizes and damages the self-esteem of indigenous peoples the world over was, and is still, at play. this is no chicken or egg scenario. I’ll blame Korea a little, but always keep in mind that Korea didn’t abandon children en masse before international adoption. i think the cause and effect there is pretty clear. and the source of this mess, this pathological mess, lies in the rationalizing, epic, colonist egos of the founders of international adoption.

    intervention in other society’s affairs is just a recipe for disaster and human suffering.


    May 15, 2010 at 3:54 pm

  4. “i don’t claim to have all the answers, but i do believe that all peoples of the world have dignity and our global politics, economics, and inequality are what really causes infanticide.” (i’ll add those same precepts cause the very industry of IA to exist).

    well stated. i honestly don’t have an argument against anything you say- though (and this is strictly an individual case) i cannot imagine the daughter i know and love thriving in a “group home”- when she now receives physical therapy twice a week that is completely tailored to her, occupational therapy, has a wheelchair that is custom fit for her discrepancy in leg length, can now be catheterized every 4 hours so she isn’t running fevers every month from infections and the back-flow of urine into her kidneys- (and, I’ll add, has learned to cath herself)- the list goes on. and setting aside all those physical needs being met – what about her emotional needs? how will those be better served in a group-home setting? and again, this is ONE specific case. i think you are right, there is only one way to stop the corruption: abolish IA.

    my worry is that in cases like my daughter’s, (and i realize her specific set of needs is really extreme), isn’t a permanent family a better solution? my question is, at what point IS adoption humane and ethical? can it be? maybe i’m an idealist, but i’d like to think so. and do we work to abolish it all together, or do we find that middle ground? and no, this isn’t touching on the topic of international adoption, per se.

    anyway. it’s true. this is no chicken-and-egg scenario. i wasn’t suggesting we stop pointing at agencies- only that other fingers warrant being pointed at the very governments and social structures of the same cultures that are equally responsible for supporting and encouraging a (at the very least) damaging and unjust industry (which of course INCLUDES my own culture). the agencies aren’t the only ones pocketing money in the name of “doing good” for these children.


    May 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm

  5. “my question is, at what point IS adoption humane and ethical? can it be?”

    Well, doesn’t adoption usually (in most cases) start off with an “extreme” tragedy or set of circumstances?

    Your daughter may not have had that treatment in China. In fact, she probably wouldn’t have that treatment, and if it was available, her parents wouldn’t have been able to afford. That, right there, at the beginning, is a tragedy.

    No adoption would exist if things were “ethically” presented, that is, in such a way that the parents could have either 1) gotten treatment 2) had ACCESS to treatment 3) didn’t feel they could provide treatment or 4) didn’t feel the treatment was adequate enough so the only “option” left was adoption.

    Adoption is presented as the best scenario in a horrible situation. But that horrible situation is still what starts off the abandonment/surrender. Without that horrible situation, there is NO adoption. And the specifics of what cause that adoption are usually based on a scenario there really isn’t an ethical way to do it – because if there was, parents could have access to treatment, they could afford it, it would be presented to them, they would feel like they have choices.

    But that’s not what adoption is really about. It’s about not having “real” choices.

    Mei Ling

    May 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

  6. “Your daughter may not have had that treatment in China. In fact, she probably wouldn’t have that treatment, and if it was available, her parents wouldn’t have been able to afford. That, right there, at the beginning, is a tragedy”.

    ABSOLUTELY AGREE Mei-Ling. these are the things that keep me up at night.

    But, as I said in my email to you- the starting point is here. Now. With the knowledge we are gaining of the past in our pocket. Reform is absolutely necessary.

    But adoption, unfortunately, is not going away. And while that institution exists, there surely is an ethical way to “practice” it (for lack of a better term) as a very LAST resort. Not the first option.

    As long as it is still operating as a business, it will remain corrupt.

    (ps. your last sentence hits with a punch. spot on).


    May 16, 2010 at 10:51 pm

  7. Insightful discussion, and one that I wish happened more often and more extensively.


    May 17, 2010 at 1:13 am

  8. I want to participate in this discussion, but I’m not ready yet. Still processing my emotional reponse as an adult Korean adoptee (yes! through Holt!) – one who is suddenly feeling even more cheated out of a life that was rightfully mine. And also as an newly adoptive parent via China. It is much to process. I will be back to this blog often, but I’m just not ready to speak… yet.


    May 17, 2010 at 1:32 am

  9. Wow, excellent post! I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate attitude toward my birth mother, thinking that she was the sole source of my abandonment. But you’ve really made me think: think further about what may have encouraged her to do so, and that if the option of adoption wasn’t there in the first place, I may still be in Korea with my birth mother today.

    Thanks for a great post. Do you mind if I refer to this post for a post of my own? It was really thought-provoking.


    May 17, 2010 at 10:21 am

  10. 윤선, yes! PLEASE DO!!! I wrote this specifically because there are too many people simplifying and compartmentalizing international adoption and ignoring the big picture.

    I totally feel that most of the parents I’ve met or heard about are definitely NOT evil child abandoners, and they were under severe duress, pressure, and were out-right misled.

    What happened in Korea SHOULD NOT be the model for the rest of the world. The “Cadillac” of adoptions came at a terrible price – to everyone involved – except the adoption agencies.

    Melissa / Raina I have drafts to you I need to finish that will take more thought.


    May 17, 2010 at 10:37 am

  11. Astounding. A person would have to be an idiot to deny that adoption agencies perpetuate the current societal situation in Korea — but your argument that they CAUSED it is a little mind-blowing.

    May I post a link on Facebook?


    A white American A-mom to 2 sons of Korea


    May 18, 2010 at 9:13 pm

  12. Well, that’s a little reductive, but sure – please post away…

    Melissa / Raina I just spent my time writing another post here, see https://holtsurvivor.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/looking-at-numbers-differently/
    so I still didn’t have time to finish my reply. But I promise I will.


    May 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

  13. I admit that I know little of Korea and its adoption history. So I am intrigued by the argument that adoption agencies were the catalyst to the mass abandonment that followed. What did happen to the children prior to international adoption? I realize that the Korean War of 1950 created a huge problem of babies due to the service men but it wasn’t the only war in Korea’s history. Surely the control of Korea by Japan up until the end of WWII would have also lead to abandoned and orphanage babies. How was it handled?


    May 19, 2010 at 2:43 am

  14. My apologies, I thought I had read the first part of article from a link so I skipped it here. Please disregard my above question.


    May 19, 2010 at 3:00 am

  15. Well, I did find out that there were orphanages during the Japanese occupation. But the idea of orphanage in Korea was typically one of temporary relief during hardship.


    May 19, 2010 at 4:37 am

  16. For those who doubt that adoption agencies were the catalyst to the mass abandonment.

    While I was living in an orphanage in 1975, I heard/saw two mothers being pressured to leave their children at the orphanage.

    One of them was a single mother. After she took back her two daughters, I heard a nun saying to the caretaker that she tried to convince her to leave the girls at the orphanage, and that she told her how stupid and irresponsible she was to raise two kids alone.
    I don’t know the situation of the second mother. She came to fetch her two daughters and ran away with them. But the director and the nuns ran after them, managed to bring them back, and they talked to her the rest of the day in their office. I don’t know what she was told, but at the end of the day, she left her two daughters and also her third daugther at the orphanage.

    During a trip to Korea 14 years later, I learned the orphanage closed about three years after my adoption. I asked a nun what happened to the girls left behind me and if they were all adopted out.

    The nun’s answer to me was: they were all RETURNED to their FAMILIES.

    What does that mean? How many children were sent away unecessarily?


    May 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

  17. Will be thinking about this article for a long time. Everyone else has said pretty much everything that crossed my mind, but I’ll add a real-life anecdote.

    We did a file review when one of our children was 10, and found a lot of information that basically took the story that had been given to us and turned it upside down. The original information contained outright lies as well as omissions. One piece of information included the fact that our child’s parents were married. At that time, U.S. law did not allow the overseas adoption of children with married parents. We never found out where the web of deceit began or ended, but when I pointed the inconsistency (euphemestically speaking) to an agency social worker here in the U.S., she responded that the Korean agency probably did what they did or “they wouldn’t have been able to get her out otherwise.”

    It dumbfounded me then, and still does. And it happened all the time. Still does, just different kinds of fudging since that particular law was changed.


    May 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  18. Wonderful article. Thanks for sharing your excellent insight. Yet another example of why I no longer believe in international adoption.


    May 27, 2010 at 2:17 am

  19. Epic post!

    It always saddens me when I hear of Adult Adoptees blindly supporting everything and anything “adoption.” I suspect that it was something to do with not being able to separate how they feel about their Adoptive Parents, from everything else adoption entails.

    I love my parents, adoption brought me to my parents, therefore, I must love adoption.

    It took me a long time to realize that I had to separate things from each other and call the very bad things out for what they were. The fact that I love my parents does not make the deceit, profiteering, and exploitation of mothers, children, and families worldwide OK.

    I have gotten the “would you have rather been left in an orphanage/foster care?!” (I was in foster care) questions. No, I would rather we address the issues that put children in foster care and orphanages, not react to the issue once they are already there.


    December 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

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